Celebrating 20 Years
Protecting the Environment 
2015 VEC Public Meetings: January 21, February 18, March 18, April 15, May 20, June 17, August 19, September 16, October 21, November 18, December 16. The commission meets once a month on Wednesday from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm on the 2nd floor of the Annex building of the Verona Community Center located at 880 Bloomfield Ave., Verona, NJ 07044. The public is welcome to attend.
All VEC members are Verona residents, serve without compensation and are appointed by the Mayor. Join us in protecting Verona's environment for the health and well being of all. Going "Green" together is easy. Contact us at veronaenvironmental@gmail.com or write to: Verona Environmental Commission, 6oo Bloomfield Avenue, Verona, New Jersey 07044.

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Volunteers Clean The Peckman!
The Verona Environmental Commission organized a community cleanup of the Peckman river and woods on April 11. The environmental clubs from Verona High School and Montclair University helped make the event a success.

About 50 people donated their time to take care of the woods adjacent to the Peckman River,  helping to keep our waterways and trails safe and healthy for wildlife and for people. You can see several pictures of the event HEREThe group included a large number of students from Verona High School and Montclair University. The Peckman Trail entrance is located behind F. N. Brown School, at 125 Grove Ave. in Verona.
Volunteers filled over 6 large recycling containers with cans and bottles and several garbage bags. They collected discarded boxes, bricks and large pieces of metal including hauling an old water heater from the river. The trail entrance was mulched and trails were raked and extended. Volunteers also installed a bat box, a Screech owl house and a Bluebird house that the commission purchased with grant money. 

Last year the VEC won an open space grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions to preserve the trail adjacent to the river. See our trail guide HERE
The work began on April 26, 2014 with a cleanup. Over 40 volunteers show up and did some grueling work. Then the VEC organized a planting event on May 31. The commission purchased 6 Ostrich ferns, 2 Serviceberries, 3 River Birches and 3 Swamp White Oaks. VDPW provided compost and tools and delivered the native trees to the site. Over 20 volunteers and 16 kids participated. Volunteers used a submersible pump provided by the BOE to water the trees. 

The commission also installed watering bags in all trees. During the summer, every Wednesday volunteers watered the new trees. And on September 28 the VEC organized a trail maintenance eventYou can see the results in this VIDEO. Volunteers showed up to remove cans, bottles and even old furniture! The group also cleared a few downed trees to extend the pathway, and continue to pull the invasive Japanese knot weed. The trail is great for dog walkers, hikers and bikers. Everybody should stay on the trails, not only to protect plants and trees but to avoid ticks and poison ivy. This is really a hidden treasure in Verona, please visit the trail and help us keep it clean. For volunteering opportunities please contact us.

Verona Awarded Bronze Certification
Verona Township has been awarded bronze level certification by Sustainable Jersey for 2015! Bronze certification means a municipality has made a commitment to sustainability and succeeded in implementing significant first steps, while silver certification means a municipality has made significant progress in a number of categories toward sustainability and is a state-wide and national leader. At Verona Environmental Commission encouragement, Verona Township joined Sustainable Jersey in 2014 and became the 400th municipality in the state to join the program. The VEC formally presented the program to the council members on November 2013 and provided information to residents at our table in the December 2013 Fair in the Square. A Green Team chaired by Steve Neale was appointed in 2014 to lead the local sustainability efforts and achieve certification. Good job everyone! 

Poster Contest Winners
The VEC held its 6th Annual Poster Contest on Walk to School Day, October 2014. This year's theme was "Sustainable Verona". You can watch the VIDEO here! Students Grade K to 12 submitted over 200 entries. The posters were exhibited at Verona's public schools, the Community Center and in the kiosks of the Hilltop Reservation. Walking or biking to school, turning off cars while parked, buying locally, preserving open space, planting native trees and composting are just a few ways to make Verona more sustainable. The awards ceremony took place at Town Hall on Nov. 3rd.  Winners received $50 dollars and an award certificate from Mayor Bob Manley. Thank you students, families and educators for supporting this program! Pictured from left: Jessica Sidrak (H. B. Whitehorne Middle School), Stephen Bartell (Forest Ave. School), Paul Chanley (Verona High School), Maya Cappello (Brookdale Ave. School), Erin Song (Laning Ave. School) and  Juliet Alkaysi (F.N. Brown School).

The VEC at Fair in the Square
The Commission participated in Verona's Fair in the Square on Sunday, December 7th. 
Despite the cold and windy weather it was festive all day long with crafts and composting demonstrations (including a real composter on site). Kids made over 40 pine cone bird feeders and several snowflake ornaments with plastic bottles from HBW, previously cut by students from the Environmental Club. Several kids hung their bird feeders from nearby trees while others took them home with a brochure to help them identify common backyard birds. The commission also distributed composting brochures.

Verona Wins 2014 Environmental Award
The Association of NJ Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) presented its Environmental Achievement Awards to six local environmental commissions at the organization’s 41st Annual Environmental Congress on Oct. 24 at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg. This year’s Award winners include Environmental Commissions from Chatham Township, Manalapan, Oakland, Verona, West Windsor and Westville. The Hawthorne Environmental Commission earned honorable mention. Pictured VEC members Gloria Machnowski and Jim Loudon with former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, the keynote speaker at the event that gathered about 200 environmentalists from around the state. The VEC received the award for its recycling education campaign and video “Verona Recycling 101” produced by the commission in collaboration with students from the Verona High School Environmental Club and the the town's recycling manager. During the congress VEC commissioners also attended workshops such as "Trends in Local Open Space Preservation" and "New Jersey Water Supply".

First VEC Student Member
At its April 7 meeting, the Town Council unanimously appointed Julia Capuano as an Environmental Commission Alternate Member. Julia is the first student member since the commission was established over 20 years ago. Julia is a sophomore at Verona High School and a member of VHS Environmental Club. She feels protecting the environment for ourselves and future generations is crucial and she plans on attending college for environmental science. Julia has been attending the VEC public meetings for the past few months and she is currently collaborating in recycling and clean up projects. The VEC congratulates Julia Capuano on her new appointment!

Proclamation for Shimonaski
On December 16 the former Chair of the VEC, Gerard Shimonaski, was honored with a proclamation by the Verona Town Council. The Council surprised him with a certificate of appreciation recognizing his 10 years of service and 6 years as the chairman on the Verona Environmental Commission. Shimonaski is the current Vice-Chair on the VEC and on the Verona's Public Safety Committee and he also serves as the township representative to the County Solid Waste Advisory Council (SWAC). He is pictured here with Town Council members and former and current VEC members. Congratulations Jerry!

VEC Annual Report: 
Please read HERE our 2014 report. The township encourages all residents to plant native trees and reduce, reuse, recycle,  and compost as much of their household waste as possible. The Verona Recycling Center located at 10 Commerce Ct. is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. You can access a live feed from Nixle here

Verona's Green Fair
May 30th from 11 am to 3 pm in the Verona Civic Center, 600 Bloomfield Ave. Join the VEC and so many others at the Green Fair! The VEC will have local recycling information, games, and recycling bins available to pick up. Participants include the Verona Junior Woman's Club, Verona Municipal Alliance Committee, Moms of Verona/Caldwell NJ, the Department of Public Works, the Verona Library, PAWS, Hilltop Conservancy, Verona Police- Medicine drop off, Verona Health Dept., Verona Recreation Dept., Verona Ropes Course, Ivy Rain Barrels & Composter, Purple Dragon Co-Op and many others!
Geocaching in Verona
Geocaches are hidden in many places in Verona. The VEC placed a new geocache along the municipal Peckman Trail, near the Peckman River. Get the GPS coordinates HEREUse a smartphone or GPS device to navigate to the provided coordinates. Look for a regular hidden container. When you find it, write your name and date in the logbook. If you take something from the container, leave something in exchange. What is Geocaching? Watch the video - Geocaching ("jee-oh-cash-ing") is a fun modern-day treasure hunt. It is a family friendly way to exercise body and mind. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. The Peckman Trail entrance is behind the sport fields of F.N. Brown School (125 Grove Avenue in Verona) and has a kiosk with a trail map. The trail is maintained by the VEC and community volunteers. Map the location. Happy geocaching!

VEC Volunteers Install Birdhouses
The Verona Environmental Commission purchased Bat, Screetch Owl and Bluebird houses with grant money and installed them along the Peckman trail with help from volunteers. The bat box was installed on a dead tree near the river. The best locations to install bat houses include rivers and streams since they are natural flyways for bats. New Jersey supports 6 year round resident bat species, the 2 species that people come into contact most frequently are big brown bats and little brown bats. Bats eat many harmful garden pests and mosquitoes. Eastern Screetch Owls like their houses in deep afternoon shade and preys on mice, voles and large insects such as moths and beetles. The Eastern Bluebird house was installed facing the open field. They feed by dropping to the ground onto insects or, in fall and winter, by perching on fruiting trees to gulp down berries.
New Anti Idling Resolution
At the VEC encouragement, the Verona Town Council approved a Resolution adopting a strong Anti Idling policy last January. The resolution essentially reinforces existing NJ State Law which prohibits idling in your car or truck beyond 3 minutes while parked.  The resolution also encourages drivers to turn off their engines immediately, especially in idle frequent locations such as schools, drive through windows, gas stations, parking lots, etc.  Municipally-owned vehicles are also included in the anti-idling campaign. Emissions from gasoline and diesel powered vehicles contribute significantly to air pollution, including greenhouse gases, ozone formation, fine particulates, and a multitude of potentially harmful pollutants that can trigger various respiratory ailments such as asthma. Enforcing this resolution would significantly improve public health, air quality, reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions. 

VEC Videos:
NEW Sustainable Verona: the VEC produced this 6 min. video with artwork submitted by Verona students to our 2014 Poster Contest. We received over two hundred entries from public school students grades K to 12. The video shows a hundred of those posters. Great job everyone!
Verona Recycling 101: 6-minute video produced by the VEC in collaboration with students from thee High School Environmental Club. This video received a 2014 Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions. The video was shot at the Verona Recycling Center, located at 10 Commerce Court in Verona (map) and open to the public Wednesday and Saturday 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. For more information please visit our Solid Waste and Recycling page and refer to the 2014 Verona Garbage and Recycling Schedule. 

Kids Ride to the Peckman Trail: 3 minutes video made by Verona kids with helmet camera.
Wastewater Treatment Facility: the commission produced this 8-minute video, please watch it to learn how you can help protect our waterways (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen).

Go Idle Free Verona is a 2 minute video from the VEC and it is part of the commission's campaign against unnecessary vehicle idling. The video was entirely shot and edited by VEC members in Verona. The commission would like to especially thank the HBW Environmental Club and the kids from Verona for their participation and support. We invite you to watch it and learn how you can help to enhance Verona's air quality (click on the lower right corner icon for full screen). An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour! NJ State Law prohibits idling more than three minutes for both diesel and gasoline non-emergency vehicles. Please Turn the Key -Be Idle Free!

Verona Recycling Help Verona save money and go green. Click "play" below to watch our video and reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can in Verona!
Let’s encourage kids to walk to school and support them by improving air quality and safe driving. Please watch our video presentation Idle Free Verona and spread the word!
Township Trees

All those trees planted in the curb strips along most streets are Township Trees. Also, in a few specific locations just inside the sidewalks, right of way, and in public recreation areas. Verona has been a Tree City for 26 consecutive years.Request for Township planting, pruning and removal should be made by calling Public Works at 973-857-4804. To learn more about The Verona Shade Tree Commission, our Township Trees and how to help them please READ HERE. Residents are encouraged to contact the police at 911 to report any emergency and (973) 239-5000 regarding any police related matter. Trees or power lines that have come down should be reported.